When Stevie Hovey thinks about her dad, she says he was big: in personality, family and fun.
“He was a big sailor, he spent a lot of time at the yacht club, he spent a lot of time with all of us,” said Hovey.
“In 2010, the 83-year-old dad and grandfather was one of the early patients at Smilow Cancer Hospital.
“They made everything great, they were really great to us as family members,” said Hovey, describing her experience with the hospital. It’s also where her brother, Theodore, known as “Bear,” is also currently under treatment. So, it’s no wonder why the Closer To Free Ride is close to their hearts.
“We try to do our best in all the fundraising because my brother is sick now and he still benefits from all the clinical trials and stem cell transplants,” said Hovey.
Stevie and her niece, Sally, are on a small and mighty team out of Vermont, named Team One More Time.
“She rides for her uncle and her grandfather which is sweet.”
The team usually has five riders and raised $4,000 last year for the Closer To Free Ride. This year, the two will carry on the tradition by fundraising and renting a house in Milford for the virtual ride on September 12.
“I did the hundred twice and I’ve been doing the 65, said Hovey. “If it’s just going to be her and I this year, maybe I’ll just ride the 100 with her.”
It’s Stevie’s ninth year, the third for her niece.
“She could probably ride circles around me,” she said with a chuckle.
They train for the Closer To Free Ride on the hills in Vermont which helps make the shoreline routes a bit easier.
“Twelve miles here is equal to about 35 miles there.”
She says she’s fueled by the energy from the excitement of the day and moments that hit home, like passing the Smilow Cancer Hospital, which is still a big part of her family.
“You get pretty excited, I mean you feel like you can ride your bike forever when you’re out there.”
And in the end, spending forever with family is the goal.
NBC Connecticut is a proud partner of the Closer to Free ride.